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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70209
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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We live in a small development of Log Cabins. There are covenants

Customer Question

We live in a small development of Log Cabins. There are covenants on these, one is that you must do no structural alterations. Neighbours have bought the cabin next to us to sell on and are going to put a patio door where there is a window. This will be intrusive to our privacy and a noise issue what can we do and is it expensive as we are on a pension. Have been in touch with Snowdonia Park and we were told it is a separate issue from planning. They did state that no planning application had been received.
Many Thanks
Elaine Whittaker
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are they making the window wider to put the patio door in all will it be the same size widthwise?
Are there any other covenants on these properties and if so, have you complied with all the other covenants?
Do all the properties have the same covenant on?
I have a freehold or leasehold?
Do you live in the property permanently?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We are told the door will be the same width as window there are many covenants on these homes. We are all freehold property. This is a fully residential site. Yes all property has the covenants. We are in compliance our selves. We live here fulltime

Elaine

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
When I ask about compliance with the covenants, I am not just asking whether you have complied with the ones in respect of structural alterations but I am asking with regard to all the covenants that affect your property. Have you complied with all of them?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes we have

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

yes we have

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Excellent. The reason I ask is that you would not be able to enforce this covenant against the neighbour if you had breached any of the other covenants.
The reason is that if you want to rely on something you must have "clean hands".
So if for example there was a covenant not to keep pets and you had a cat, you would not be able to enforce the covenant with regard to the window against the next door neighbour.
You cannot selectively enforce covenants against the neighbour and yet breach of the covenants selectively yourself.
That is not the case here obviously but I thought it was worthwhile explaining.
Regarding the replacement of the window with a patio door, I'm sorry to have to tell you that this is not classed as a structural change. It would be classed as a structural change if the width was changing but as it is not, then it is not classed as a structural change and would not breach the covenant.
There is a potential building regulations issue but if the local authority were bothered about that, it would be a mere formality. It is unlikely that the planning department are going to be the least bit bothered.
The general rule is that with covenants like this, they are what are called estate covenants where every covenant is enforceable by every property owner against all the other property owners. The problem in this case is that it is not a breach of the covenant.
I wish I had better news for you.
Can I clarify anything?
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

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Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No problem and all the best.

Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’.